Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Trail running in Ontario parks

Ready to ditch the treadmill or sidewalk for somewhere a little more scenic?

Trail running opens up a whole new world beyond paved surfaces. And like road running, it’s a simple, healthy activity that requires little equipment.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Merrell to share the health benefits of trail running, as well as what you need to know to get started!

Health benefits of taking the path

In addition to the obvious cardiovascular benefits, running on varied terrain can improve your agility, endurance, and overall strength.

Two women running on the beach.

It also demands your full attention to avoid tripping hazards like roots and rocks, which is a great form of mindfulness.

There’s no time to get too hung up on deadlines and lists when there are puddles to jump and branches to avoid!

Two women running along the path.

Ultimately, trail running is not about distance or pace; It’s about the experience and being outdoors.

Trails offer a greater connection to nature, whether you are in the local park or out in the wild.

Check out these top tips for getting started with trail running:

Plan ahead

Before your trail running debut, do some research.

Consider things like the type of running surface, weather, and gradient (hills and incline).

Know your route in advance.

Find the right shoes

Woman running while pushing stroller. Shoes are the main equipment to consider for trail runners.

Trail running shoes are specially designed to face uneven and rugged terrain.

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They’re designed to handle soft soil, loose rocks, and pretty much anything in between.

Proper footwear is especially important on more remote trails, where it can be harder to get help (protect those ankles, runners!).

(Our friends at Merrell have several styles to help you channel your inner trail runner and reconnect with the ground!)

Security First

Let someone know your route and how long you are likely to be.

Preload maps to your phone or GPS watch. Consider a headlamp, an extra layer, and a small first aid kit.

Don’t forget to hydrate or bring a bottle of water!

Practice good trail etiquette

Trail runners, like all trail users, should leave no trace. Carry banana peels, energy bar wrappers, and any other trash you carry with you.

Wooded trail.

Stay on track and don’t be tempted to take shortcuts. Going off trail causes erosion on steep slopes, damages natural vegetation, and creates harmful social trails.

It also keeps it safer from injury or poison ivy, and makes it less likely to get lost.

Don’t forget to share the trail and leave space for others to enjoy it too.

Enjoy your run!

Go out with an open mind and go on your own mini-adventure.

Soak up the sights and sounds of nature and explore the great outdoors!

merrell logoOntario Parks is grateful to corporate partners like Merrell for their support.